How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you may picture getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also something you can use for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to limit the distribution of illnesses across your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!

How Does a UV Light Function?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for over a century. UVC rays were originally applied to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification systems.

A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.

UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t physically ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your home’s air supply.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

Provided they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at improving indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report measured “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial property’s HVAC unit after four months of applying a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Install an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits:

    • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is harmful to those with asthma, allergies or chronic lung diseases.
    • Decreased likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can minimize the risk of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
    • A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help counter the cost of running a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it circulates throughout your home.

If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun continuously produces invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to apply an effective sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.

Fortunately, the atmosphere filters out these rays completely, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.

Understanding that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited to the ductwork where you won’t come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut off the system briefly to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are used constantly and generally last nine to 14 months. Yearly HVAC maintenance (once in the spring for your air conditioner and again in the fall for your furnace) is the best possible time to have these bulbs checked and changed out as needed.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to advise the solutions that are best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.